Portraits With | Jessi

Jessi and I met in high school, obsessed over the same bands from My Chemical Romance to Paramore. At the center of much of our conversations were our overwhelmingly similar music tastes and which attractive grungy lead singers we lusted after. 

I remember paging through Madonna's Sex while listening to Queen's News of the World on vinyl in her parents' basement. The back and forth of lyrical interpretations and have-you-heard-this-song sprees with friends like Jessi are some of my closest-held memories of high school. That, and watching Adam Lazzara perform drunk with Taking Back Sunday or creating awful scene-kid looks at a friend's sleepover.

Jessi amazes me, currently writing for Local Loop Chicago and Chicago Tribune, interviewing the likes of Aretha Franklin. She inspires me in the way that she took this fascination and archival memory of music trivia to a place of establishing herself a career based on it. If that isn't following your passions and compromising for no one, I don't know what is.

Jessi and I reunited after what was at least five years when I visited Chicago this April. We spent all day thrifting, taking photos, talking music, drinking coffee, and eating amazing falafel. It was a perfect day, and things picked up just how they would have been years ago.

When we laid records all over the floor (as you do), we commented on every one of them. Although you can't see it, a lot of care went into which specific album we chose. "Cher's Half Breed, or Dark Lady?"

When I spend a whole day photographing friends, I try to fit a few themes and locations into the day. What is essentially one long photo shoot comes out with multiple styles and "sets" of portraits, and it is really great to feed off of my creative friends and challenge myself to capture who they are in a unique way. I almost never plan these shots either - they're all unscripted.

For some real-talk, music critiques, candid comments about boys, and unrivaled Bob Dylan worship find Jessi on Twitter. You won't regret it.